Your spouse has filed for divorce and you have received the initial paperwork. So, what are your next (or first) steps?
Before proceeding to your first step you must sign the Waiver and Acceptance of Service (JDF 1102(a)) and return it to your spouse. Signing this document will prevent you from being personally served by a third party (generally a process server or county sheriff who has been instructed to hand you the initial paperwork at home or even your place of employment). If you were served with the Petition by someone other than your spouse and did not receive a Waiver of Service, you can proceed directly to your first step.
QUICK TIP: Signing the Waiver of Service does not mean that you agree with everything your spouse has put in the Petition – you’ll have a chance to file a Response later on. The Waiver of Service is simply your acknowledgement that you have received the initial paperwork.
Prepare your Response to the Petition (JDF 1103) and file it with the Court within 21 days of being served or signing the Waiver of Service. You must also provide your spouse with a copy of your Response.
Now that your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings, you generally have 21 days from the date you signed the Waiver of Service or were personally served to file your Response (JDF 1103). The Response is your opportunity to state whether you agree or disagree with the information in the Petition. After you prepare your Response, you will need to file it with the Court along with the appropriate filing fee ($116.00).
QUICK TIP: If you cannot afford the Response fee, you can ask the Court to waive your fee by also filing a motion for a Fee Waiver (JDF 205).
Prepare your mandatory financial disclosures by completing your Sworn Financial Respondent’s Resource RevisedStatement (JDF 1111), Supporting Schedules (JDF 1111S) and Certificate of Compliance (JDF 1104). Your spouse will also need to complete this process. If you have children, you will also need to take a mandatory parenting class.
The mandatory financial disclosure process is the process in which both you and your spouse complete a financial statement (JDF 1111/1111S) and exchange certain financial documentation, such as income documentation and bank statements. This is a required step for both you and your spouse.
Finally, you will want to work with your spouse to come to agreements on all divorce issues, such as division of assets, maintenance (spousal support) and issues related to your children. If you need help, we have loads of resources to assist you!
Using our Divorce Navigator you and your spouse can prepare all your agreements (Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan) to be submitted to the Court for review and approval. Once the Court signs your Decree, you will be officially divorced.
QUICK TIP: If you and your spouse have trouble coming to an agreement on property, debt, support, and/or shared parenting-related issues, Hello Divorce offers in house mediation options to fit the needs of your unique situation. We can also provide referrals to mediators near you, and have a large volume of helpful mediation resources!
Have questions? Schedule a FREE 15-minute divorce planning call today!